You can’t get much cozier than a fleece jacket in the fall. First championed by outdoor clothing brand Patagonia at the end of the 1970s and through the 1980s, faux sherpa fabric revolutionized clothing. The man-made fabric was developed an innovative textile mill called Malden Mills, which would eventually become Polartec. It used polyester to simulate the curly woolen coat shorn from sheep. It was a hit with the apparel industry and turned millions of people into fluffy lamb-people.
The curly fibers work by trapping warm air in thousands of pockets. Those pockets also cut down on fabric density, making it more lightweight than a traditional heavy wool coat. Today, you can hardly walk down the street in the fall without seeing someone wearing a fleece jacket. If you’re looking to become a sheeple for this staple of gorpcore, here are the best pieces of fleece outerwear to cop right now.
Uniqlo Fluffy Yarn Fleece Full-Zip Jacket
You can’t get much fluffier nor much cheaper than this piece from Uniqlo. It’s simple with a zip-front, two hand pockets and not much else.
Patagonia Classic Retro-X Fleece Jacket
The quintessential fleece jacket, Patagonia’s deep-pile fabric is a favorite. The brand has gone through numerous fleece iterations including Synchilla and Woolyester, but deep-pile was revived for a reason. It’s cozy as hell and looks great. The all-polyester fabric uses 50 percent recycled yarns and is wind-proof and super warm. Zippered hand pockets keep your hands warm and your belongings on your person while DWR-coated polyester paneling and storm-plackets and elastic hems and cuffs keep the weather at bay.
Gramicci Boa Fleece Pullover
Like Patagonia’s famed Snap-T, Gramicci’s Pullover excels as both outerwear and stylish layer. The Boa Fleece fabric is more chill than the some of the other options on this list, but that just adds to its versatility.
Filson Sherpa Fleece Jacket
This handsome kit comes from another storied outdoors brand, albeit one that’s steeped in logging rather than tree-hugging. It features a high-pile fleece courtesy of Polartec that’s actually a touch heavier than Patagonia’s Retro-X. That said, it’s still breathable and won’t suffocate your skin. Other details include nylon reinforcements, as well as ribbed hems and cuffs.
Satta Mikah Fleece
Had Kurt Cobain been into hiking, this is the cardigan he would’ve been caught wearing on the trails.
Knickerbocker Reverse Zip Pile Jacket
All clothes should be reversible. At least, they should be as good as this reversible number from Knickerbocker. Part chore coat, part Eisenhower jacket, this jacket features an all-cotton fleece that’s a refreshing departure from the usual synthetic fleece that’s par for the course.
Kapital Damask Fleece
If most fleece jackets seem a bit plain, you can count on Kapital to serve up something out-of-the-ordinary. The Damask print elevates the fleece jacket to a place inhabited only by the very hip and the grandparents whose style they stole. Unlike other options, this one also doubles down on fleece with a full fleece lining.
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